Vicomte A is inspired by lifestyle events and codes of dress, but what sets the brand apart from the rest is the use of colour. From the bold to the more subtle, founder, Arthur de Soultrait, always incorporates vibrant colours that add an element of fun to his very wearable designs. As a businessman, however, it was not always the most evident route for the young entrepreneur. At 21 years old, Arthur was a student in his third year at a Parisian business school. With little clue of what business he wanted to create, it was by chance that his interest turned to fashion. After finding out that the company he had started interning for in North Carolina had gone bankrupt, Arthur was left with no money or accommodation. It was here that the opportunity arose: Arthur went from door to door selling his own personal collection of colourful ties. It was a total success, he raised enough money to travel home to France and, more importantly, the motivation to begin his own business venture.
A year later, Arthur gained his first contract selling ties to the French delegation representing the bid to host the Olympics Games in 2012. It was this contract that gave him enough funds to set up Vicomte A.
Did you feel there was something missing in the market when you first founded the company and how do you think Vicomte A has filled that gap?
The market was very dark in colour at the time with a lot of black, but I love to see colour. My grandfather was breeding horses to race and was one of the best breeders in France during the 1990s so we used to attend the horse races on a regular basis. I was inspired by the colours of the Jockey’s shirts and so when I started my tie business I wanted to incorporate these bright colours. One year later, I launched the polo shirts, which are also made in similar colours. I think there are few companies that match lifestyle with colour in this way.
The clothing is linked with everyday life; clothes that match lifestyles that are practical as well as stylish.
In the photo: Autumn/Winter 2015 collection
How have your visions and perceptions changed since starting Vicomte A?
I would say that it is not the same brand anymore. At the beginning, I was just selling ties and polo shirts, but now we have 600 different products each season that sell in 32 different countries. The French market knows the brand well and the connection with the bright coloured polo shirt will remain the staple piece. However, now there is a stronger focus on the new collections with the introduction of more urban styles. Vicomte A is constantly growing as a brand, it is not just sports and events wear now; we have introduced high-end styles as well.
How has the use of colour changed over the course of the company?
I like to think the company has grown in maturity; the colours are more seen in the details of the clothing, for example, in the lining of the pockets. Of course, Summer is a little bolder, but it is all in the details. When I speak to the team at Vicomte A, I always ask them to think about the colour. It is one of the most important elements of the brand.
How important do you think the campaigns are to the branding of the company?
The most recent campaign was photographed in a forest in Burgundy, a place where I rent a home. I took models and friends and shot the campaign there and worked with print designers, Violaine and Jérémy, who have a great reputation in the industry. Campaigns like these are important to the company because it is a real life brand. The clothing is linked with everyday life; clothes that match lifestyles that are practical as well as stylish.
In the photo: Sping/Summer 2015 collection
Do you see Vicomte A branching out in the future with different lines or occasions?
It is just great to be in a place where I have a great team working with me. I am really enjoying where the company is right now. Sometimes I have to reign myself in a bit because I have lots of ideas, but the challenge now is to branch out to new countries. We are currently in the process of putting our first store in Johannesburg and we recently sponsored a Polo company. So the idea is to conquer new places, keep targeting younger markets, something that older competitors selling similar clothing are not doing, but also stay true to the brand. The logo, the designs and the colours I have chosen represent the soul of brand so choosing the right partners is very important at a time when the company is growing.
What is your favourite Vicomte A item and do you wear all the designs?
The polo shirt is my favourite item because it is classic Vicomte A and a staple wardrobe piece. I wear most things because I design what I like, what myself and my friends would wear. At the moment I am working on a dinner jacket; I wanted to design something elegant for special occasions.
In the photo: Autumn/Winter 2015 collection
Where do you find inspiration for the themes of the collections?
I mainly think about my lifestyle and the things I enjoy doing and then think about how clothes can fit in with that. For example, Summer 2016 is all about fishing, which is one of my favourite hobbies. My first time fishing was in Scotland in 1996 and this is what inspired me to design this specific collection. Bringing my own life and loves into the brand makes the process easier and more fun when working with the designer. Not many brands incorporate style and fashion with lifestyle, whether it is urban or country living, but I think it is important.
Did you think you would be here ten years ago?
Not at all. Ten years ago I was a student and it all started because I needed some money. When I first created Vicomte A I just wanted to be able to make 1000 euro per month through selling the ties because I wanted to be independent of my parents. At the beginning, you have nothing so it is hard to see that far ahead. Now, it is all about the team and the everyday. It is a very difficult business, the market is extremely tough because the competition is large and you’re competing with brands all over the world. Every month new brands are added to the market. You have to be a bit crazy sometimes to stand out from the crowd.
Leading image: Arthur de Soultrait